The Soupster tells a story…
Originally published September 7, 2000
“Cross your fingers!” yelled the man on the tall ladder to his Soupster neighbor below.
The man furiously sloshed white paint from a bucket onto the wall high up near his roof, as the first clouds passed their ominous shadows over the eaves.
“Not now!” he yelled at the clouds. He made, with his paint brush, even quicker jerking motions that covered him, the ladder, the ground below – everything but the wall – with paint.
The ladder swayed precariously.
“Calm down,” the Soupster yelled back. “Even if it does rain today, you’ll surely have another day to paint.”
“I won’t,” the neighbor said and scurried down the ladder to approach the Soupster.
“I went fishing so many days I could have been painting,” he wailed. “I took a hike on the new Mosquito Cove trail when I could have been painting. My whole family offered to help me on several occasions. ‘That’s okay,’ I told them. Oh, I’m a fool, a fool!”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” said the Soupster.
The neighbor turned suddenly cold and serious. “How long have you lived in Our Town?” he asked the Soupster.
“Long enough,” the Soupster answered cautiously.
“Then you should know,” said the neighbor, “that putting off your painting till September is madness. Madness!”
The Soupster knew. He knew that professional painters in Our Town sometimes have a waiting list years long. Not for lack of ambition, but because there are so few painting days. And the Soupster also knew that some folks in Our Town have gone to incredible lengths to deal with paint and rain.
“Let me tell you a story,” said the Soupster, gently lifting his neighbor’s spattered paws off his shoulders.
“A nice couple I knew was buying a house and the bank would not close the loan until the weathered western wall was repainted. The couple was paying rent until the loan closed and the monthly payments were wreaking havoc on their savings.
“But the bank insisted on the painting. This was in October, mind you. The couple begged the bank to let the job hold off until spring. They even offered to let the bank hold the painting money until then. The bank wouldn’t budge.”
“What did they do?” asked the neighbor.
“Well, the husband and wife painted the wall together. The wife had a bunch of towels and she would wipe off an area a second before he would slap oil paint onto it. They waited for a day when the wind wasn’t blowing right on the wall and painted it in the middle of a good downpour.”
“I get it,” said the neighbor. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just do it.” He shook the Soupster’s hand. “Thanks.”
But before the Soupster could say “Pshaw,” rain drops started falling. The neighbor was already running off. “Honey!” he yelled into his front door. “Get some towels!”